Thursday, June 5, 2008

Profile Antics: Charles Burns

Philadelphia cartoonist and illustrator Charles Burns combines crisp line work with dark horror themes in his various “comix” to earn acclaim somewhat outside the mainstream of “comics”.

Burns' earliest prominent work includes illustrations for the Sub Pop fanzine and contributions to Art Spiegelman's comic magazine RAW. Most of his short stories, published in various magazines over the decades, have been collected in the three volumes of the "Charles Burns' Library" from Fantagraphics Books: El Borbah (1999), Big Baby (2000), and Skin Deep (2001). A fourth and last volume, Bad Vibes, has yet to be published, which would have the Library collecting the entirety of his pre-Black Hole comics work.

From 1993 to 2004, Burns serialized the 12 chapters of his Harvey Award-winning, adult-themed graphic novel Black Hole (12 issues total between Kitchen Sink Press and Fantagraphics Books), however in October 2005, he released a slightly remastered collection of Black Hole in a single volume.

Charles Burns' high-profile illustrations include work for the Iggy Pop album Brick by Brick. His art has also been licensed by The Coca-Cola Company, Altoids and portrait illustrations for literary magazine, The Believer. In the early 1990's, his Dogboy stories were adapted by MTV as a live-action serial for Liquid Television.


Mr. Karswell said...

Before it was collected the local weekly alt-paper here used to print Big Baby as an ongoing strip (this was about 15-20 years ago) and man I loved it. El Borbah is great too, Burns was doing the lucha libres decades before they finally caught on with the modern pop culturists.

Chuck Wells said...

I've really gotta get around to reading Black Hole, now that it's been collected.